Confessions of a Boho Womanoid: fashion blogger Olivia Thevenin
Tête-à-tête with fashion blogger Olivia Thevenin
♠ Tell me a bit of your story
I am from Paris. I studied Communication and after graduating I started working in fashion retail. I realized very soon this was not for me. I wanted to do something creative with fashion, not sell fashion. In order to gain some perspective, I went back to school and studied again.
At some point, my husband, who’s half Italian, transferred to Milan, so we moved there. At the beginning I was like “what shall I do?” I was looking for a job in a press office, something related to my background. That was in 2008. I seemed to have arrived in Milan at the wrong time, it was the beginning of the crisis and everything was going wrong … I was 28 at the time and the only thing I could find was internships. I already had some experience, I wanted a real job.
I started doing little jobs in fashion stores again and one day a friend who worked at the Dolce Gabbana showroom said to me, “come, you should try it, they need someone”; so I started doing sales campaigns in showrooms in Milan. Today, I am still doing this for Givenchy in Paris.
♠ What’s your work like?
I like my work. It is very interesting but also intense and fast-paced, because it’s only during Paris fashion weeks, four times a year. Of course it all depends. In Paris, sales campaigns are very short, 1-2 weeks long during fashion shows. In Milan they last longer. At Givenchy I only work for short periods of time but women who have the same role for designers like Armani in Italy, can work almost all year round. I do enjoy the work/life balance my work brings me.
♠ What brought you to Luxembourg?
After Milan, my husband accepted an attractive job offer in Luxembourg and I followed him. I have been in Luxembourg for five years now. Time flies! It is very scary sometimes (smiles).
My husband came by himself first to get an idea of the city and the living conditions. He really liked it and I joined him soon after. My first year here was tough though. Initially I didn’t want to stay.
So, although you’re based in Luxembourg, your work is mainly in Paris?
Yes. My family lives there, so I go anyway at least once a month to see my family and friends. And I also go for the showroom sale campaigns at Givenchy. Going to Paris is always nice and I see how my followers are interested when my pictures are taken in Paris. A shot with the Eiffel Tower in the background never fails on the social media (laughs).
This is what I do when I need ideas for my blog, for the background or for post content, I travel. Just changing the backdrop of your photo shoot is so important. Sometimes you can wear a lousy outfit but if you have Paris or London or a great metropolis in the background, nobody seems to care.
♠ Is the blog an interest for you or a full-time job?
I call it unpaid work, but it is definitely work in the sense of time I put into it. I started 1 ½ year ago… actually the blog started as a result of my initial goal, which was to be a personal shopper. This is something I love doing, although I have to admit Luxembourg hasn’t provided me so many opportunities for personal shopping yet.
♠ How did you start blogging?
At the beginning the whole digital exposure was really not my thing, but a good friend who’s into the blogging scene and luxury fashion motivated me to do it. She told me to open an Instagram account, and reluctantly I did, and I took it from there. For me, what’s important is having the passion and commitment for something and the direction and knowledge follows. I started like this, simply taking pictures with my phone.
♠ How much time do you spend on blogging?
The honest answer would probably have to be all day…it is a continuous evolving process. Even if I am not on the blog, I am always working towards increasing my social media traffic, thinking of the next idea, interacting with followers. I really like Instagram, I love Snapchat, and of course I couldn’t go without Facebook. But Instagram is so much more interactive for me, this is where my follower base is. I work a lot on it.
The thing about a blog is that it is very much alive. Originally you build a blog for the very first time and you have an idea about the format you want to have, the look that best expresses your personality. Then, things change and digital trends change too and you as a blogger evolve as well. Now, for example, I am in the process of changing it as I got bored having the same website layout. At the beginning I was very active on the blog, uploading two posts per week, but now a lot of the action has shifted to social media and Instagram. It is the new state of blogging at the moment.
♠ Do you think one can be a successful fashion blogger on a budget?
For me a sense of style has nothing to do with how much money you spend on an outfit. Of course, if you can afford good quality things, it definitely helps. I personally like to be involved in fashion anyway, so I do invest on some key items and keep an eye on trends but this doesn’t mean spending my entire salary on fashion and clothing. I often partner with stores. As a blogger, you can borrow items and you can use other great resources like vintage items. No need to break the bank.
And of course, there is vintage selling, which has become popular again. You can sell a vintage item and buy a new one. It is budget and eco-friendly. I used to sell on Ebay or Le bon Coin but as I have recently gained a bigger followship on Instagram, things can be even as easy as posting an item there. I recently sold a bag within five minutes on Instagram! Social media does that.
♠ So, you don’t spend large sums on every single piece?
Not really. I buy iconics or let’s say, the most interesting item of the season and the rest can be basics.
♠ Where do you stand with fast fashion?
The fast fashion cycle is surely getting tighter and tighter, so I do tend to resist it more and more. I would suggest buying less and better quality. Know where your items come from and are manufactured. You have to pick your fashion battles. By buying less, you get a better understanding of your personal style, you feel more confident about what you see in your closet and you end up a smarter consumer. When I was younger, I made a lot more impulsive purchases. Not anymore.
And of course, your style has to adjust to your lifestyle. Parisian girls don’t dress like New Yorkers. Blogger or not, your style has to truly echo your personality. I actually use the items I include in my blog. One’s style has to be real. Finding your styling voice is a process, this is why it is useful to slow down.
♠ Who are your favourite bloggers?
Sincerely Jules, Song of Style, Audrey Lombard. There is a coolness about these women. And although I know the kind of work a blog involves, it’s nice when the outcome is effortless. I have lost appreciation for blogs that have lost their authenticity due to their enormous success. There is a fine line between being successful and becoming a victim of your success. Having said that, when a blog becomes a business, things can get blurry. Despite anything, I would love to make my blog my prime income source. It is something I would genuinely enjoy.
♠ What do you think about the state of blogging today?
I have mixed feelings. Over the years and with all the resources bloggers have in their hands, blogging has become very sophisticated. The quality has definitely risen and you can access incredible high quality content online. The downside is, everything has become over stylized and there is a complete lack of spontaneity. I don’t exclude myself in this, but I do try to keep a fresh outlook on things. Being involved in the blogging scene and researching, I know very well that very few moments are natural and spontaneous. And it is quite sad. Also, everybody seems to be a blogger now and it can be overwhelming. There are just so many of us.
♠ You recently became a mother for the first time. Do you plan to include motherhood and parenthood in your blogging thematic?
Being a mother is part of my life, so it will probably trickle down to my social media posts. Bloggers are real people with real lives and it just doesn’t make sense to be too rigid about it. But I don’t think I will create content online about parenthood.
♠ Would you like to have your own fashion brand one day?
Not really, this doesn’t interest me. It is a huge venture and I am just not invested enough in it to go that path. What I would definitely consider would be to collaborate with an already established brand on a capsule collection, I do have ideas that I would love to see on garments and accessories.
♠ What is your skincare and wellness routine?
As much as I love fashion designers, I don’t go for their products when it comes to beauty and skincare. I trust the French pharmacy a lot more. I don’t follow beauty trends. I love La Roche Posay and Avène, but I do change it up, so my skin doesn’t get too accustomed.
I like to use products for sensitive skin with mild ingredients. I have a dermatologist in Paris that I visit from time to time and I trust utterly. She knows my skin and knows the kind of treatments and products that work for me.
Other than that I don’t drink and I don’t smoke. I love sleep and I do get 8-hours of night sleep religiously. Of course, now with my newborn, I adjust, but I do think sleep is quite important for everything: your body and your spirit.
I maintain an overall balanced lifestyle without obsessing. I enjoy good food, love chocolate. For years I have been drinking hot water with a squeeze of lemon every morning.
When it comes to make up, I prefer it minimal. A red lip is always a good idea and can instantly brighten up both your mood and your outfit. You don’t need much else, just make sure the shade matches your skin and hair tone. In general, I don’t like exaggerations towards any direction. Balance with some fun is key.
You can follow Olivia on her blog theoliviasway.com
XO, Maria Delta